The People’s Vote, an initiative sponsored in part by the National Archives, allowed Americans to vote for our nation’s 100 most important documents. The Declaration of Independence (1776, #1), the Constitution (1787, #2), and the Bill of Rights (1791, #3) received the most votes. Also among the top 10 were the Emancipation Proclamation (1863, #5), the 13th Amendment (1865, #7), which abolished slavery, and the Gettysburg Address (1863, #8). These last three documents, and many others on the list, exist as a direct result of an ordinance that is largely forgotten.
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